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  • Writer's pictureSona Wegner, MBA, Founder

How to start a dental bookkeeping checklist to follow in your practice today.

Updated: Oct 10, 2021

Bookkeeping for Dentists, Start of Dental Bookkeeping Checklist

When you have finished entering your transactions from your bank and credit card accounts, do you go back and check your work? Does your CPA have to constantly remind you to do certain tasks or do you have to constantly remind your dental practice's bookkeeper?

Here at Bookkeeping for Dentists, every staff accountant must complete a monthly checklist for each practice they finish for month-end bookkeeping. Without our dental bookkeeping checklist, I'm not sure how we would function. It's a huge part of the quality in our work.

I'd like to share our Bookkeeping for Dentists monthly checklist with you and walk you through the items on it so you can also achieve the same quality bookkeeping. If you're not the one doing your bookkeeping, then this would be great to share with your current bookkeeper or accountant to follow along.

Dental Office Bookkeeping Checklist:

  1. What to remember before beginning the bookkeeping

  2. Download documents and save to online document storage

  3. Enter and accept all transactions in QuickBooks

  4. Formally reconcile all bank and credit card accounts in QuickBooks

  5. Gross up and reconcile payroll transactions to payroll reports

  6. Adjust loan accounts for interest and principal

  7. Consider special items (ie: Care Credit Fees)

  8. Quality Review Check (Always go back and check your work)

We start every new client with the same template checklist and continue to add and adjust as we work with the dental practice's bookkeeping each month. Work through the steps below and add your own individual needs along the way.

1. What to remember before beginning bookkeeping

There are some things to remember before you dig into bookkeeping because if you start to work and you have forgotten to do something a certain way, it could be quite the mess to go back and make changes. Therefore, at the top of our checklist, we list items that we need to remember before we start anything.

For example, one important rule in our bookkeeping process, (but so rarely followed by almost every practice that comes to us) is each and every transaction in QuickBooks needs a vendor name. It's super easy to miss because of the way QuickBooks imports the transactions from the bank without the names in the vendor column but has it in the memo. Let me know if you'd like me to explain the importance of this and how to do it in more detail, but this is a good example of what you have to remember to do before you start doing anything. Going back and adding names to all of the transactions after they have been added would be a very time consuming mess.

Vendors in bookkeeping for dentists checklist
Missing vendor names in QuickBooks Online transactions (samples)

These types of items are at the very top of our checklist. Can you think of a few things you keep forgetting to do or something special you'd like your dental practice bookkeeper to remember? Put it at the top of the checklist!

2. Download these documents and save with bookkeeping records

We download and organize all month-end bookkeeping related documents for our dental practices into Dropbox folders for each client. We chose Dropbox because it's HIPAA safe and easy for clients and their CPA's to access so you will see me referring to Dropbox. But there are other storage options you can choose from obviously. Paperless is best, always.

On our bookkeeping checklist template the following items are there to download and save to Dropbox (or paperless storage of your choice) every month:

  • Checking account statements

  • Check copies from checking account

  • Savings account statements

  • Credit Card statements

  • Loan activity with month-end principal balance if available

  • Payroll reports per pay period showing gross pay, net pay, deduction details, and employer taxes withheld.

3. Enter and accept transactions in QuickBooks

Whether you manually enter transactions or import them from the bank account, you will need to enter/accept transactions in QuickBooks to officially record them. But whatever you do, it needs to be for all of the business bank and credit card accounts through the current date or at least the last day of last month. Our checklist tells our staff accountants to record transactions to the current date (the date they are working on the client).

  • Checking accounts transactions

  • Savings accounts transactions

  • Credit card accounts transactions

4. Reconcile Bank & Credit Card accounts in QuickBooks

Here is a very important step often skipped by inexperienced bookkeepers. Formally reconciling every bank account, credit card and loan account on the balance sheet is a must to make sure you have everything recorded correctly such as no duplicates and no deductions missing. When I say formally, I mean going to the gear icon in QuickBooks Online and clicking the "Reconcile" feature under the tools menu.

Reconciling in dental bookkeeping
Reconcile feature inside QuickBooks Online

This is important to do every month so you have accurate numbers. And the QuickBooks Online reconcile feature will walk you through reconciling any account on your balance sheet. It also leaves you and your CPA historical reconciliation reports which CPA's depend on for their review work. Give it a try if you haven't, then add this to your checklist to be done every month.

5. Reconcile payroll & gross it up

Another step that is often missed by inexperienced dental bookkeepers would be to reconcile payroll. I can't even tell you the countless payroll mistakes we find practice owners making after we reconcile payroll each month. Manual paychecks written that don't match payroll reports, taxes withheld that weren't paid over, voided payrolls that weren't voided correctly. It happens a lot, but the only way to catch these mistakes is to reconcile payroll to the payroll reports for each pay period. To do this, you'll just make sure the gross pay and employer payroll tax totals on the Profit & Loss matches the payroll reports. This might also include checking deductions, garnishments, etc. Comment below if you'd like another blog post explaining this process in more detail.